I’ve been spending a lot of time at my FLGS Grimdark Gaming trying to get into Tradeable Card Games. I had been going in on a Thursday night to play Flesh and Blood and had started making some friends within the community there. I ended up in a discussion with one of my oppenents about Dungeons and Dragons as they are a Dungeon Master for the store that hosts games every week. The discussion encouraged me to give the game a go.
First came character creation. This was difficult for me not knowing much about this side of the game previously. I settled on a dwarven rogue named Morcrath. I decided to make him a bit of a brute, like a street thug that has decided to try and make some legitimate money. He’s not above trying to swindle his fellow adventurers and would rather kick a door in than waste time trying to lock pick. He’s also not terribly smart, no real education and not really understanding how the world work outside the cities.
My first adventure was noto quite what I expected. Being new I was dropped into the middle of an Adventurer’s League game. I didn’t have a lot of context for what was going on only that some dwarf had been kidnapped and taken to this castle. I had been dropped off as backup to an establish group of adventurers: A tortle monk, a human cleric, a warlock with an imp companion, an elf rogue and a dragonborn sorcerer. The dragonborn sorcerer was also new and it was their first game as well. I didn’t catch a lot of the names of characters, the monk and cleric seemed to know each other and be very experienced. The warlock seemed like a bit of an outsider and the other rogue was very helpful and trying to do the right thing. I played my character as a grumpy treasure hunter that was more interested in finding something valuable than fighting.
After an initial goblin attack that I felt like I didn’t contribute to at all (not by choice, the monk and cleric went all out for massive damage before I could really act) I felt like trying to push the buttons in the adventure to see what would happen. I entered a room with an alter and after disturbing it to find something valuable was set upon by a Grick (land octopus thing). This very nearly killed me, knocking me unconcious in the first round of battle after I had landed a few critical blows on it, forcing the cleric to save me from death. It was a humbling experience and made me play more cautiously.
After a lengthy conversation with some goblin NPCs that I didn’t contribute to we were rushed to the final encounter of the day: A bugbear and drow. Again, being cautious I edged around the room firing shots from my blowgun until the warlock decided to cast darkness in the room and block me from taking any action. We spent a round doing nothing until the spell was dropped. The monk was knocked out by the bugbear who had then summoned a dire wolf companion to help him out. The dire wolf arrived and immediately chomped on the dragonborn. When the fight was looking at its worst though we managed to pull through and win the day as our enemies fell one by one. The cleric pulling out a massive heal at the end carried us through the rest of the fight.
So, what did I think? I’m still unclear on my thoughts to be honest. I was more excited going in than I was going out. I felt as though I spent a lot of time not doing much at all and often felt like control of the game was wrested away from me be the more experienced players. One time I even suggested that I stealth into a room and was told “No, I’m going to do this intead”. Another time the other new player and myself were asked which room we would like to go into and while we were asking about our options the cleric instead said “I’m not wasting my time on this, I go to the middle door”. It was kind of like running a dungeon in an MMO where everyone else is speed running but I wanted to spend time immersing myself in the lore and story. I was also a bit disappointed that it was just combat encounter after combat encounter. The one social interaction that was happening occured just after I had been healed up so I was not close enough to participate in it.
I feel as though I should give the game another chance but I’m not entirely sold on it yet. Hopefully next time brings some variety and allows for me to actually make some choices or gives me more of a chance to roleplay the absolute bastard that I see Morcrath as.